U.S. President Donald Trump signed an executive order on September 21 expanding sanctions on North Korea by targeting individuals and companies that trade with Pyongyang.
Trump told reporters ahead of a luncheon meeting with the leaders of Japan and South Korea that it was unacceptable that entities were supporting the North Korean regime financially, and that the order will cut off revenue that funds Pyongyang's efforts to develop nuclear weapons.
"Our new executive order will cut off sources of revenue that fund North Korea's efforts to develop the deadliest weapons known to humankind," he told reporters ahead of a luncheon meeting with the leaders of Japan and South Korea.
North Korea has launched dozens of missiles under leader Kim Jong Un as it accelerates a weapons program designed to give it the ability to target the United States with a powerful, nuclear-tipped missile.
The United Nations Security Council has condemned the "highly provocative" launch of a ballistic missile on September 15 that flew over Japan as an "outrageous action," while Trump called on members of the United Nations General Assembly on September 19 to take a harder line against threats posed by North Korea, referring to Kim Jong Un as "Rocket Man," saying he was on a "suicide mission."
South Korean President Moon Jae-in called on September 21 for the North Korean nuclear crisis to be handled in a "stable manner." Moon told the General Assembly that, while sanctions were needed to bring Pyongyang to the negotiating table, Seoul was not seeking North Korea's collapse.
The UN Security Council has imposed several rounds of sanctions on North Korea over its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs. Pyongyang warned on September 18 that more sanctions and pressure will only make it accelerate its nuclear program.
In announcing the new sanctions, Trump said China's central bank has ordered banks to stop doing business with North Korea and that the measures will also target shipping and trade networks.
He added that the new order gives the U.S. Treasury discretion to sanction foreign banks that conduct transactions tied to dealings with North Korea.
With reporting by Reuters, AP, and AFP